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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  March 11, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EST

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on my left is the former administrator for the national highway traffic safety administration. we want to welcome you here seated next to her as the safety policy council for the consumer union. we want to welcome you, also. we lastly want to recognize and also say hello to our former colleague who is a member of this house representing the
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state of oklahoma for many years, a bright and intelligent human being, the hon. david mccurdy who is the president of the alliance for automobile manufacturing's. . .
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i think there has been a misconception on what a defect is. the last page that was litigated on this issue, the central court of appeals made several important comments. this is not in my testimony. i think this is an important issue. it has come up several times. what the court was was do find a defect -- the vehicle must be shown to be defective. it manifest itself in performance of the automobile. it could be performance defect. they do not have to show there are five or 500 or 5000 consumer
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complaints that have arisen. often, those claims are not allowed in court. it is not going to find the result. george 11 fesays it is not mind any application of identifying the manufacturing failures. it to me be based exclusively on the performance records of the vehicle. i think this changes if you look at the 201toyota agency should approach this investigation. i think the agency has fallen into a trap. it seems to be a burden of
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having to define what the defect is in terms of the failure for performance that is irresponsible of the manufacturer. they put it together. how this happens is their responsibility. it has a failure in performance, the agency confided defect in the company has to fix it. a said. -- that is what has been said. i have a few points. there has been a low priority and importance in the agency, and lack of resources. there is another key issue. the court of appeals in the 1980's found consumers did not have a party under the statute to sue if a defect is not bound by the agency. if the case was closed, it
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cannot go to court. there is authority for it to go to court for decisions we do not think is proper. we have gone to court on many occasions and help to make the statutes work better. the early warning system was kept totally secret. we that part of it repealed. we can sue there is a rule making issue. i think that is changing the balance of the king by the administrator -- the balance of thinking of by the administrator. the agency had the discretion to figure it out. in every case, they are just
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mimicking the words of the court decision. we should have that authority. we will not bring cases we do not think we can win. it changes the balance of power. it gives them a chance to get the word and say what is sitting. if we bring a case, they can intervene. the agency has been engaged in secrecy. we do not even know how many times toyota filed an early warning report. how many consumer complaints have they had? all that is secret. if that were more open, at the public would have access to it
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and they could help the agency when they had a problem. if you into the web page to try and figure out whether that had been early warning reports, you would not able to figure it out. i think the penalties they impose are insufficient. they should have criminal authority for a willful violation of the act. it is in the fda law. i think the same should be available for hippa. the civil penalty is $14 million. they spend that much in half a day on their communications activity. we think it ought to be $100 million. the agency is drastically underfunded.
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the motor vehicle program for the entire the united states is $132 million. in terms of inflation, it is way below. they have allocated. they may be changing that. the agency cannot handle the programs. information gathering is totally insufficient. they should have been funded through four times what they are
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now. i think a key issue that has come up is a black box. voluntary standard do not work. -- standards do not work. the system is not even been made available. there is a five-year lead in. we think the black box ought to be mandatory. the police do not need to have seven different computers. they ought to have one standardized downloadable software. one way they can drastically in hand would be to have the black box? that when it is downloaded when a serious crash occurs.
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have they set up a predict have been set up a system to receive it. -- and have them set up a system to receive it. it is far more than what they had today. i hope the committee will consider that issue as well. the new safety standard should come out of the work that is going on. for years, it was a very dangerous circumstance. many people became quadriplegic or paraplegic as a result. in the toyota case, there is a break override standard and a new accelerators standard which was issued in 1973.
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it is completely irrelevant to the current models. finally, i believe that it will strengthen. i would mention it is owned by honda motor co. i think that should be changed. there are attendees for doing that. thank you very much. i went slightly over my time. >> the chair will accept the extraneous material to the record. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for the opportunity
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to testify on the road ahead. i and the policy -- i am with the nom policy consumers union policy council. there is national attention on safety problems. consumers union believes addressing the challenge demand accord amid efforts by the government, automobile makers, and public. we recommend the following actions. we believe government regulators could move more aggressively to pursue unintended acceleration. various news reports point to a pattern of missed opportunity. they were aware of acceleration complaints involving toyota complaints. we are pleased that we are looking into the central electronic issues behind the
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events involving to lyautey. we await the findings. we believe they can take actions not to improve safety. we would like to see improved public access to safety information. it also collects complaint and data. both have limitations. the debt is not integrated. consumers should not have to visit different sites to get all this information. all complaints information should be visible the at a single, easy-to-use consumer side. it should raise public awareness. the more public complaints, the
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greater the chance of unintended acceleration and fight at an early stage. nhtsa should meet standards. they should require cars to stop within a reasonable difference, even when the throttle as fully opened. one method to stop distances is smart throttle technology that allows the break to override the model. to us, the most important feature is to ensure a vehicle can stop within a reasonable distance. nhtsa should require easing controls. when the car is moving, it requires a sustained three second pushed the button to turn off the engine. that is a safety precaution to stop accidental shut offs. many owners may not be able to
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do it in a panic situation. is to be easy to operate in an emergency. nhtsa should require intuitive stickers in all cars. if the car is accelerating, hitting the break and shifting into neutral is your best strategy. nhtsa should require a minimum distance between the gas pedal and the floorboards. floor mats have been a major focus in the recent recall. nhtsa should insure there is sufficient clearance between the pedal and the format. penalties should act as a current against future violations. the average consumer response -- the goal is 7.14% manufacturers noted by dealers about recalls.
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recalls -- consumers union suggest that going forward car manufacturers amid such that it to nhtsa. this information should include individual people identification numbers of cars that are subject to a particular recall. nhtsa would be able to match up safety recalls with the manufacture provided vin in a searchable data base. we encourage states to link this while complying to the ability to meet the administration. this is help people who purchase used cars to know whether to recall the car. we recommend that congress to give it the reports of a revolving door.
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we are pleased to hear the administrators looking into this issue. we ask congressman to adequately fund the nhtsa. in 2007, crashes accounted for 99% of all. this is over 1% of the entire d.o.t. budget. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to appear and speak on behalf of the industry as a whole. as a major introduction, when they lifted the membership of the subcommittee, i actually served with the fathers of three of the members. it is a homecoming of sorts. it is good to be back with you. as you consider the road ahead, it is important to remember the three key points. the administrator who we are all delighted that david strickland is now the administrator pointed out and the department of
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transportation highlighted today that its motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries are at historic lows. that is very important. secondly, they are still getting sicker every day because of innovated safety technology. we need to be careful not to inhibit the innovation or identification in remedies. on the first point, sometimes when you see a chart like that, to put it in perspective, this decline -- this figure reports as 1000 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
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they are 1.16 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. that is down from an excess of two. but that in terms of human lives. we all know there are far too many that is a significant reduction.
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there are in increased numbers of electronic features. he mentioned being able to take part of the carburetor and engine. it is impossible to do that today. a lot of the technologies that we see and that meet fuel economy requirements are because of these advanced electronics. also, voluntary standard do not work -- in fact, many of the incredible safety innovations were voluntary and brought about before the agency ever considered regulating it. electronic stability control sit anywhere from 5000to 9000 lives annually.
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safety belt reminders, significant. aside air bags, the emergency brake assist, adapted headlights, lines but information system -- all of these innovations that the industry introduced passed regulation. it is important to recognize that electronic systems are often far more reliable over time than mechanical systems. i used to represent the electronic industry. the advancements in technology provides increased performance. it enables the goals -- vehicles to have a fail safe mode. this is a very significant technology.
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it is helping us to meet our goals. i think you really have to be careful not to inhibit this innovation. this industry innovate more rapidly for consumers. i do not think the public would be well served if automakers were forced to wait for the government to catch up with the innovations. we talked a lot about recalls. the vast majority of recalls are voluntary. the number of recalls are up. some say that is a sign a promise to th. number of people affected are coming down. they are using the recall system
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based on data from the consumer and agency directly to initiate these actions to identify this as a remedy. just in closing, i want to make a couple of points about suggestions for this committee. i know how this chairman and committee works. if you want to build a consensus on a bipartisan basis to address significant concerns, we with ask that congress really assure that nhtsa has the resources to do their jobs. we have advocated additional resources to fund the national automobile system. we also support a number of other legislative element that we hope will be included.
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such as state inducements, working to a doubt primary safety belt laws. our industries been hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign to try to pass the primary seatbelt enforcement laws around the country. we also believe there should be a first offense within the initial and lot requirements for impaired drivers. 30% of the deaths are the results of less than 1% of the drivers. they are drunk driving. we have to get those people off the road. the graduate and license los 14s
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iaw for teens, we support that. we support efforts such as "click it or takicket.' there is an opportunity to support the driver defies program called the road safe act, which put money to prevent access -- during drivers from getting access to bagels. we very much appreciate your work. aha with the board working on some of these challenges. >> thank you for all of your work. the chairman recognizes himself for five minutes. >> there has been a lot of
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testimony. some of it is centered on on the -- on the technological solutions or recording devices. what is the industry's response to this phenomenon? >> we believe the information is important for nhtsa to do their job. they have a role to recommend standards for data required. i think the industry is moving rapidly toward deployment of
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that system. over 60% and bald eagles today and have -- of vehicles today have that. the only caution i would give, when we talk about black boxes, some people think that in an aircraft there is a black box that would cover an accident. the data systems are embedded threat to the goals. it is not just one solitary box. we did for to working with them. >> you indicated nhtsa's current
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budget is in adequate. how much do you think nhtsa's but it should be? what should be the category we should the fed to increase this. >> this agency is starving to death. they cannot collect the data it should. it is not have the enforcement that it should.
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all of us suffer from that. i think mr. strickland will be a good leader. i look forward to seeing his work. i think he needs the resources to do it. ii think is and is very appropriate that they would use the resources that the agency decides. he said they would use them wisely i'm very pleased to see this. >> you have given less -- >> issues have been raised today about the reduction in death and injury on the highway. after the oil crisis of 1973, there is a reduction because the economy was -- there documents
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for the agency itself. every time there is a downturn in the economy, there is a downturn in debt and injury. i think that you are still going to need the resources. there are many others that i did not mention today. >> i think the administrator said that it actually had decreased and declined for 15 straight quarters. that is more than the current recession. there are regulatory efforts.
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>> safety technology has had 320,520 online. i do agree. i'm disappointed that the industry opposes some of the improvement. the safety features could make a huge difference. the number of deaths on the highway would be greater were enough of this agency doing their work. >> my time is expiring.
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>> we all know people who have been killed in car accidents. there is no way not to be emotional about the highway. i am walking away in this hearing feeling a little bit better about things. the toyota issue is out there. when you have this kind of reduction in the deaths per 100 million miles. -- it did not make any difference what the economy is or is not. we are talking about 100 million
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people mines. we should celebrate that the fatality rate is coming down. when we talk about the budget, i think the total but it is in the neighborhood of $900 million. a lot of that goes to state grants. you all may be more familiar with the statements then i am. i referred earlier to this congressionally mandated causes of the black accidents. it said 95% were due to the driver, primarily the drivers. 2% related to the hickel
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equipment. 40% of that related to drivers. i'm wondering if we should look at this in a different way and try to start focusing more money on educating drivers. every state set their own laws for how old you have to be to drive. 95% of all accidents are caused primarily because of the driver of neglect -- should we be focusing on more programs to provide better education to make the drivers better prepared? i would ask each of you and see how you respond. >> i appreciate your question.
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i would like to some of for the record the problems bc. >> is a microphone on? >> it is. i'm sorry. 95% of the crashes or driver error. we have to look at is what causes the death and injury but . he put together a matrix. it had -- what you are talking but is the pre-crash issue. that is trend driving, falling asleep, breaks do not work, what ever it may be. >> there is only about a minute left. you disagree with what i was singing. >> not necessarily.
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what you want to do is protect the driver and the occupants. the way you do is make sure the car is safe regardless of what caused the crash. they have done a lot of work on this. driver training did not do much in terms of the long-term driving capabilities. >> what about you? do you have any comments? >> in our testimony we submitted, we took a look at the question the committee is asking. we have made our recommendations accordingly. secretary ray lahood has put a great focus on distracted driving that has been a big problem. we do see a value in that. >> thank you.
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>> in addition to driver behavior and performance, there is driving environment, a condition of roads -- that is factoring in to serve. it can be contributed to the people. it has an interesting photograph of the 50th anniversary event at the national institute of highway safety. they did a 40 mile an hour ahead on crash into giggles. one was in 1959 chevy. we are not picking on jedi.
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-- chevy. that is a lot of middle there. for the mile an hour head-on crash with eight chevy malibu. it is a smaller car. the results are dramatic. the 1959, the passengers would have been killed. there is no doubt. there was a tremendous impact. in the new model, it does front air bags, air bags, and the technology has other features that improved the likelihood of survival. that is regardless of the cause. there is a comment made about the three second stop.
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i dreaded it will that has a push button like that. -- drive a vehicle that has a push button like that. are we saying that consumers today, it is in the manual and not take three seconds to push a button? i know that the panic. there is a need for education. maybe one of the positive aspects of this is that maybe consumers are having to pay attention to the vehicles they are driving . where is neutral? my son-in-law tried a camry. it was in the recall . he asked, what do you do? you put it in neutral.
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you do not want inadvertent shutting of the engine. that affects steering. i think there is a common-sense approach we need to take. let's find out what it is. let us work together. the industry should be discussing. >> may i briefly respond to the comment about the button? >> i would like to note that our recommendations have to do with when the consumers are in an emergency to ration . with been talking about unintended acceleration. it is my understanding that toyota is working in reconfiguring their push button system so it can be turned off.
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that is what we are talking about. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. >> i want to apologize for the witnesses are not being here for testament. i want to take this moment to say what a tremendous resource we had in it joan who did serve as head of nhtsa. i hope not only our subcommittee but nhtsa will take it vantage of all of the years of experience she has had led only as an administrator but as an advocate. i think them for the work you are doing.
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pawlenty joan for the decade of being an advocate in looking at the priorities that you laid out come -- laid out for legislative and administrative -- there are a couple of things that are clearly legislative if you think the penalties need to be enhanced. that is legislative. what are those things that you think the committee has to deal with in particular and that really cannot be done administratively to meet the goals that you set out? >> do you have a microphone on? >> i would say certainly in the penalty area that is a legislative issue. in the funding, that is a
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legislative issue. it is what it is. it is not this committee's responsibility, although you do authorize it, of course in the area a transparency, in the early warning act, information was open. it was interpreted as not being open. >> this would require a change your clarification? >> yes, i think it to be very helpful. we definitely need to have legislation there.
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i think it will be helpful to have legislative support for improving the black box. this could be done by the agency. it to be really helpful. if it has gathered a lot of data and can be down loaded easily, all of that can come into the debt system. it would enhance the capacity to analyze problems, find out what is going on in the highway. it would be rich information. it was intended to be 25,000 a year.
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this will never get to that now. why not take advantage of this data that will be collected anyway under what i think has to be a mandate? and use that data for the operation of the agency. >> you seem to be nodding. >> we ask for additional resources. this committee has the data. it is there. we need to make sure the agency has the tools and resources to gather. my only caveat is and do not believe the wholesale would further the objectives of quickly at defining this.
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it may lead to more litigation. >> i actually have the mike. -- mic. idea believe it would do that. -- i do not believe it would do that. we can action where to get it to redress the problem. i worked to make that happen. the industry supported that. i want to make sure that is on
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the record. >> i appreciate that. is there any way that you can respond back to that? >> and nothing is that it should be public. thank you. let me just follow this. isn't the box on the car -- when it belongs to the person? when they have the right to opt out if they wanted to? if they did not want it to occur >> huge -- i do not think there should be an opt out. >> the information it collects
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is speed and location. is it going to go beyond that in terms of weight in the car or driving habits? it sounds like you want to expand it. i think many people are concerned about how the federal government will handle this data. say i cannot opt out under your precision, how will it be public? on the internet? people able to seat about their neighbors who are driving. there are some privacy issues. >> i really appreciate you asking the question. i would not suggest every crash that occurred to the public on the internet with the name of the person on the car. the black box collects that it
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25 seconds before a crash. >> it is not on the whole time? >> no. >> it is a limited time frame. what it records is whether it is on the accelerator or breake, the speed of the vehicle, etc. it only be statistical data. privacy information would be erased. it would just be statistical data. we would see a crash occurred and what the data was.
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i think this committee would be concerned about the privacy. i have another question. it is nice to see you. it would direct the department of transportation to issue a regulation which will mitigate the safety caused by electric cars. i was in the parking lot. i was just walking this hybrid car came up. i did not hear it. it practically hit me. i think both general motors and nhtsa have come up with proposals to address this. i have the desire to have the cars that are a hybrid in silence. winston churchill, killed when he came to the net state and up on the wrong side of the road.
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the inconsistency of the response so far need to take further action. pedestrian say a thing dick safety has 210 co-stars. -- pedestrian safety has 210 co- sponsors. >> i think we ought to recognize john from the national federation. we have been looking closely. our companies have been conducting this. it is ironic that we have been
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pushed for years by some. >> no one is ever happy. we are moving rapidly to hybrid technology. they are quiet. it is not silent. it is a little bit of distracted walking. >> i am a pedestrian. i had the right of way. >> i spoke to the convention. >> oh, did you? >> i think they would tell you that we have reached out to ap of them to work closely with them. we are trying to understand the challenges here.
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to really understand -- >> is there a time line? >> we been doing the research now. i think we are not far. >> a year? two years? >> it depends on the front end and back. i think we are actually making real progress i think there is an opportunity for real improvement here. it is not confrontational at all. [inaudible] it is really a question of bringing to bear the right -- >> you think nhtsa should head
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an industry-wide solution? >> it should be in beshear right. >> there is a great episode on the tv show of a closed the office." key initiates in a -- on the tv show "the office." he engages in a slow car chase. voluntary can be a relatively thing. you talk about voluntary changes the industry had made. a lot of the changes that were made were also things the industry initially resisted. when it the great things about the country we live in is to have a system that allows people from all different walks of life to work together in a public setting and there are private enforcement makers to
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try to hold people accountable. you mentioned you that concerned about the use of the electronic data recorder information. you suggested it could lead to more issues. i would challenge that statement. if you had a system with standard or accessing and downloading that information and a clear understanding of what it represents, you could actually reduce litigation. much of the cases, people are trying to understand how an accident occurred, how the compartment was compromised. one of the things i'm interested in hearing from you -- we a been talking about the standards for the debt to reporters. there have already been some proposals both by the institute
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for electrical engineers and propose to give patients the nhtsa is considering. it has been my impression that some members of your alliance have been objecting to the enactment of the regulations. are you able to make a statement on behalf of the alliance that it supports the enactment of standardized regulations by nhtsa? >> i believe we are moving in that direction. i think there is well over 64%. they have edrs. i may have been confused and all the information. some of the warning is where we have concerns. the type of information is probably less. i think there can be movement on this.
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i think the stakeholders have an opportunity in nhtsa working in. -- have an opportunity in working with nhtsa. some people have a simplistic idea of what it is. it is not as simple as to say. i think we are moving in that direction. >> i want to talk to you about that they do use of the information as also be standardized and expanded. he asked her about the ownership and assumed to belong to the owner of the beagle -- vehicle. the manufacturers to the position that it is proprietary information not the person who paid for the item of bill. had we move forward from this point to try to come up with a system to make the information
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downloadable and easy that provides it with better data? >> as we noted in our written testimony is, the regulation will require it to have a certain standardized data. we would like to see that happen sooner. there are privacy concerns about ownership of the data. in the past, they have submitted comments that they were considering regulation. i would be happy to share that. >> one thing we know from the
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medical bills is the process called differential diagnosis. a position is presented with a sick patient. the goal of with a hierarchy of the possible causes, beginning with the most likely. it goes through a process of testing and evaluating to try to rule out what could be causing the illness to be able to reach a final diagnosis. one concern i have with the toyota recall is that differential diagnosis that toyota engaged in appears to be mechanical failure. . .
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the national highway traffic safety administration did not design a remedy. it never has, and it does not have the capacity to do the kind of evaluation necessary to figure out what the underlying cause is. a lot of people have said figuring out of software glitch difficult, so that is why a lot of people have talked about the overdrive as only possible solution, of the coast --
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because we do not know what the problem is. i think it is interesting that toyota has had a format recall in 5 million cars, yet the remedy is to put in a break over ride system, which is an electronic fixed. why do they put an electronic fix if it is the floor pedal -- the format or peddle? >> -- floor mat or pedal. if they have been fixed and still run away, there is obviously another problem. i think there are vehicles not covered by the recall that may use a different software, so they are not identical problems, but there is no question in my mind this is an electronic issue, and ending the company took the position early on that it was not, because consumers do
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not like software glitches they cannot understand and they cannot change. now if they change their mind, they are going to be subject to lying to the government and going to jail, so they are in a difficult position. why would they do that now? i was in a senate hearing, and there were 21 people representing toyota in front of me, and i said, you have a lot of lobbyists, and they said, these are all communications people. i think they are looking at it as a communications 6 rather than a real fix. >> i want to thank you for your impressive testimony. i look forward to working with all of you, and i yield back. >> the chair also thanks the witnesses for your patience and time you have contributed. your testimony has been invaluable as we proceed down
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this path to reoffer raising n region reoffer rising -- reauthorizing nhtsa. thank you very much. the subcommittee stands adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> up next on c-span, vice president biden talks about the middle east peace process in a speech in tel aviv. after that, and update on health care, and later, republican senator bob corker and then chris dodd hold separate news briefings on regulation changes.
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tomorrow morning, we will talk to a republican congressman about a balanced budget amendment. we will also get an update on health care legislation. later, steven emerson of the investigative project on terrorism will discuss the story of an american woman known as jihadists jane who is accused of aiding foreign terrorists. after that, a discussion on the filibuster. of parliamentarians -- of parliamentarians movement. the american enterprise institute hosts this discussion, live friday at 8:30 a.m. eastern. a vice-president joe biden is visiting the middle east this week, meeting with both israeli
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and palestinian leaders. earlier, he visited televisa university and spoke to students. the vice president reiterated u.s. commitment to israeli security but criticized settlement expansion into east jerusalem's. >> thank you sur-. -- thank you a very much. it is an honor to be here. [applause] good morning. mr. president, thank you for that lovely introduction. thank you for hosting me. i was 31 years old when i was last year, but i am happy to be
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back. being here in israel has been wonderful. it has been an honor to be here, and i wanted everyone to know the deep friendship and kinship i feel, as well as president obama feels, for this magnificent country. i should probably be used to it by now, but i am always struck every time i come back for the hospitality of the israeli people. no matter how long i have been away, and i imagine you have experienced this yourself, but instant i return, i feel like i have been home. i feel like things just picked off where they left off the day at last came here, so please except my warmest gratitude as well as that of president,, -- of president obama who knows the united states has no better friend in the community of
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nations than the nation of israel. thank you so much. [applause] i see some of my u.s. friends on the front row. i will not identify them and ruin their reputations, but they know where my love for this country comes. it started at my dinner table with my father who you referred to as a righteous christian, and my dinner table was a place where we gathered to have conversation and incidentally each as opposed to the other way around, -- incidentally feeeat s opposed to the other way around. my father support for the creation of the state of israel has generated a feeling for israel that began in my gut and went to my heart and matured in my mind. during those sessions, my father
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often spoke passionately about the special connection between the jewish people and this land. i experienced the magic of israel at a relatively young age. already, israel had a tragic and triumphant history behind it and some very difficult days ahead. already, there was a sense in this country that anything was possible. my first meeting in israel was maybe one i carry closest to my heart. my first meeting in israel was invited by a woman i admired from afar as millions of americans did. we claim her as our own. i know she is is really, but we
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claim her as our own in america, and i remember walking into her office as a young senator and being literally in on as she was so gracious of the way she expected me -- literally in awe as she was so gracious in the way she greeted me. she kept flipping maps of and down and explaining what exactly happened in the six-day war, and there was a young man sitting next to me, who i met for the first time, and as she pulled those maps of and down, educating this young senator has to the threat this donation of israel was facing, -- this young nation of israel was facing, i guess she could see the apprehension on my face.
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i found myself, the more she talked about 2 million jews, and back then, there were not that many arabs. the numbers were smaller, of what they were still exponentially larger than the jewish population, and she went through the threats that were phased and how they came through the battles of the six-day war. she spoke so passionately about her country. i was concerned. i guess it showed on my face i was concerned that surrounded by the neighbors who denied the right of the nation to exist, how are you going to do this? the prime minister caught me off-guard. she looked at me and said, would you like a photo opportunity? i said, what the hell is a photo opportunity? we open the double doors and walked out of office, and there was a lot of press. half a dozen photographers and cameras.
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for me, that was zoloft, not like today, -- that was a lot, not like today, and they started snapping pictures. she talked to me without turning her head. she said, do not start -- do not look so worried. i said, i am, and because i just had an hour and a half, and she said, we israelis have a secret weapon, and i thought she only said this to me and no one else in the whole world. she said, we have a secret weapon in our struggle with the arabs. i thought she was going to tell me about a new secret weapon. i thought this was all of photo opportunity, and she said, we have nowhere else to go. that trip was almost four decades ago, but i remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday, and its drove home
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all my father had spoken of randomly, occasionally, but consistently over the previous 15 years, and he told me as a young boy that israel and jews in the world had no place left to go with absolute certitude. this place gets in your blood. it never really lets you go. i expect there are several people in the audience who had similar experiences, who first came here as tourists and ended up launching a new life into a beautiful city by the sea. throughout my career, israel has not only remained close to my heart, but it has remained the center of my work as a united states senator and now as vice president. i have had the privilege of returning many times and to know every one of your prime
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ministers over the past three and a half decades, including your current one, who is a close personal friend of over 33 years. israel's history is a tale of remarkable accomplishment. on a perilous patch of desert with sparse resources, you build perhaps the most innovative economy and the world. you have more startups per capita than any nation in the planet. more u.s. patents per capita than any country, including my own. you have cultivated the gifts of 11 nobel laureates as well as in recent years, the work on electric automobiles, that began not very far from where i stand.
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israel is remarkable, yet the success owes to the democratic traditions i believe, to the pioneering citizens, and to its willingness to welcome the persecuted and downtrodden from far-flung corners of the globe. all this gives life to the famous slogan i was reminded of this week while visiting the grave on the hundred 50th anniversary of his birth, that says, if you will it, it is another dream. i said if some years ago. i got some criticism. i said, were i a jew, i would be a scientist. it got publicity. -- i would be a zionist. it got publicity. my father reminded me, you need not be a jew to be a zionist.
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this nation has become more than an undeniable fact, more than legacy of age-old ties between a people and the land, though it is both of those things. your very existence is also a hard one. israel's unique relationship to the united states means you need not fear the heavy burden alone. our nation's unbreakable bond, born of common values and woven colter's with mutual interest has spanned the entirety of israel's history, and it is impervious to any shifts in either country and in the country's partisan politics. no matter what challenges we face, this fund will endure. as a result, -- this bond will
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endure. as a result, generations have kept a foot in each country, enriching both our nations and people. and that with some of your leading high-tech leaders earlier, prior to coming tuesday -- coming to stage. they have a foot in both countries, many of them. while these close relations expand iman medicine and technology, culture and arts, at its core is -- expand among medicine and technology, culture and arts, at its core is a connection between the countries. every year israel faces bravely threats no country should have to endure. no parents should send their kids to school is equipped with air raid sirens in 2010. no government should be expected to turn a blind eye while an enemy calls for its destruction. i am here to remind you, though i hope you will never forget,
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that america stands with you shoulder to shoulder in facing these threats. president obama and i represent an unbroken chain of american leaders who have understood this critical strategic leadership. as the president said recently, i will never waver from ensuring israel's security in helping them secure themselves in what is a very hostile region. president obama has not only stated those words. he has translated it by action in his first year in ways both known to the public and not known to you. as the prime minister eloquently acknowledged the other day when he and i were meeting and had a short press conference that followed. beyond providing israel nearly $3 billion in military aid each year, we have reinvigorated defense consultations and redouble our efforts to ensure israel's forces will always maintain qualitative edge. we lead the fight in
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international institutions against the insidious campaign to challenge israel's legitimacy and to question its right to self-defense. since our administration came to office, are militaries have expanded cooperation -- our military's of expanded cooperation. last fall, more than 1000 american troops x -- participated in ballistic missile defense exercises, the largest to date, and it should go without saying, but i will say it in a way -- the united states stands resolutely beside israel against terrorism, from which both of our countries have suffered badly. no one in this audience needs to be reminded of the fear and devastation caused by suicide bombers or rockets from lebanon on or god's love. -- from 11 non horror from --
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from lebanon or from gaza. other communities are perhaps in the cross hairs, how you respond to that with defiance and not fear. america's support of israel is not one of friendship. it is an act of fundamental interest of the united states. a key component of our own security. i have heard it repeatedly in editorials from those wondering about our resolve. make no mistake about america's resolved. make no mistake about america's resolve. we have 200,000 young men and
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women. we're spending a quarter of a trillion dollars a year. we have had tens of thousands of fallen angels and multiple times more injured in the service of our nation, deployed far from home in iraq and afghanistan. there and elsewhere, we are aggressively confronting violent extremism and radical ideologies that threaten not only the united states and you but our allies as well. our approach consists of more than military might and our willingness to use it. from the very start, president obama in his call for a new era of diplomatic engagement with both our friends, some of whom we alienated previous years, as well as those who are not viewed as our friends. in cairo last june, he launched
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a new beginning in between the united states and the moslem communities around the world. later this month the president will continue the visiting indonesia, the home of the largest muslim population, where he lived as a boy. we are absolutely convinced this approach will improve not only our security but your security. a new generation of muslims is coming to age more numerous than predecessors, more dispersed, and more closely connected with each other and the forces and events that shape the world we share. if we can roll back recent tensions and redirect crudes stereotypes', there's and our own, it will make america safer and our closest allies say for as well in our view. we're elevating our diplomatic contacts. we do so with our eyes wide
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open, both to our deep concerns with searing actions that threaten security, but also to the hope of a better relationship and he's. we will continue to help strengthen -- " of a better relationship and fees. we will continue to help strengthen the relationship and disarming the threat to israel as well as to the civilian lebanese carrier reject lebanese. we are revitalizing business, culture, because that is the best way to counter the lower of extreme ideology, to offer future opportunity for your sticking with your prime minister, he talked about -- to
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offer future opportunity. now speaking with your prime minister, he talked about the need to provide economic outlooks and opportunities so there is an option. looming over all our efforts is the home of a great civilization and proud people who suffer from leadership that flouts the will of the world by pursuing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists. over the past decade, iran has become more and not less dangerous, turning out nuclear material. intimidating both its neighbors as well as its own citizens. from the moment we were elected, president obama thought he needed a new approach.
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he sought to engage leadership, knowing full well how difficult that maybe but also knowing if they fail to respond, we would be in a much stronger position to rally the community and imposed consequences on their actions. iran has refused to cooperate, as the world has witnessed. instead, they engage in more violations of international obligations like the decision to enrich uranium by 20% and to build more enrichment facilities. it rejected the offer to enrich for fuel, and it continues to deflate some of this -- to deploy thugs in a quest for
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basic justice in their own country. iranian leadership's continuing defiance has set the stage for our efforts to mobilize the world and imposed meaningful sanctions and clarify for the iranian leadership the smart search -- smart choice. follow international rules or face penalties and further isolation. the united states is determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. [applause] i know there was no strategic threat.
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we get the. it is also a threat of the acquisition of nuclear weapons. it is also a threat to the security of the united states of america. many countries in the world strongly oppose a nuclear-arms iran. it would threaten them and undermines the efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. but this would be a sorry outcome for such a promising beginning to the 21st century. for all these challenges, it should be a top priority. we're turning -- determined to keep the pressure on iran so it will change its course. they are connected indirectly,
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but there is a relationship. and we call of support for the effort to prevent these between palestinians and israelis and to take their own steps forward. these are critical goals in their own rights. there trying to distract the country's the stand united against the pursuit of nuclear weapons and the support of terrorism. building peace and security between a jewish democratic state of israel and a viable palestinian state is profoundly in israel's interest. if you will forgive me for suggesting.
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i have learned never tell a man or another country what is in their interests. it is also profoundly in the interests of palestinians, and it is fundamentally in the national security interest of the united states of america. in my experience, one necessary precondition for progress is the rest of the world knows this. there is-- this is what they must know. every time progress is made, it has been made when the rest of the world knows there isbetween the united states in israel -- united states and israel when it comes to security. that is the only time progress has been made, and i applaud the
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call for two states for two people living of vital voice to what thus palestinians and arab neighbors also to be true. the status quo is not sustainable. -- arab neighbors all know to be true. the status quo is not sustainable. it is no secret the demographic realities make it increasingly difficult for israel to remain both a jewish homeland and a democratic country. -- answer -- and a palestinian state. for israel, this is about both preserving your identity and achieving the security you
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deserve -- lasting security. for palestinians, not just to fulfill legitimate and a long sought after aspiration, but it will give them the dignity and self-respect their current predicament provides them. i understand why both sides are skeptical. i have been doing this a long time. not as long as my good friend. he is with me. he has even more experience in the nitty gritty of this then i do. we understand why both sides of -- both sides are skeptical. we have been down this road before. so have you, which every time makes it harder to go down the road again, but i know israel's faith in the prospects for peace have been shaken by the serious experience of
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withdrawing from lebanon and across the only to be rewarded with -- lebanon answed gaza only to be met with rocket fire. i know you are hesitant to take the risk peace requires. just as checkpoints proliferate, the palestinians experience their own prices and become too -- come to doubt israeli intentions. we all know what happens when cynicism festers. distrust, harsh words, and eventually violence. despite the unintended consequences, it has led you to build more walls and may offer short-term relief, but it will not bring sustained security you seek. this is no way to live.
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this cycle must be broken. in the middle east, in the middle east five first visited, peace between israelis and its neighbors seemed absolutely impossible even to discuss. those who suggested a two-state solution, no one suggested it, but had they, they would have been considered demented or dreamers, but instead, israel, egypt, and jordan all acted boldly to end decades of conflict. other contacts have emerged between israelis and arabs, and there is now an arab peace initiative that makes an important contribution by envisioning a future in which israel is at peace. turning these into reality is among the hardest challenges we face, but we have to face it.
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there is no alternative. [applause] as the prime minister said, all sides need to take action in good faith if pieces to have a chance, -- if peace is to have a chance, but it is hard. it is always easier to point figures. -- fingers. it is time to heed this call, even when more remains to be done, and for the world to do the same thing. your prime minister is roundly criticized, but your prime minister has endorsed the idea of a palestinian state. he has removed roadblocks that choked wednesday. these are difficult decisions --
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choked the west thank. these are difficult decisions. it is difficult to the palestinian authority to take the steps it needs to reform the institutions it is reforming. of an even greater note, it is building an effective security force to uphold law and order, in my view with the potential to do it throughout the west end and throughout the palestinian territory. president obama and i believe that in abbas and prime minister fayad they have a shared goal of peace between two states and the confidence to establish a nation. their commitment to peace is an opportunity that must be seized.
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it must be seized. who has there been better to have the prospect of settling this with, but instead, two days ago, the israeli government announced new housing units in east jerusalem. i understand this is a touchy subject in israel as well as my country, but this decision undermines the trust required for productive negotiations. i n president obama condemned it immediately. -- i and president obama condemned it immediately. [applause] some of you legitimately may have been surprised that with the strong support of israel for 37 years and beyond, how i could speak out so strongly, given the ties i share as well as my
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country, with israel, but quite frankly, sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest true. i appreciate the response your prime minister announced this morning that he is putting in place a process to prevent the return of that sort of event. to clarify, the beginning of construction on this project will likely take several years. the statement he put out. that is significant, because it gives negotiations time to resolve this as well as other outstanding issues. when it was announced, i was on the westbury. everybody thought it meant an immediate resumption of the construction of 1600 new units. -- when it was announced, i was in the west bank.
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the united states will continue to hold both sides accountable for any actions that inflame prejudice outcomes in these stocks triggered the most important thing is for these talks to go forward promptly and in good faith. we cannot delay, because when progress is postponed, extremists exploiting our differences. these indirect talks are just that. indirect negotiations. only path to find the reserving permanent status' issues -- too finely fixing those are direct talks, but you have got to begin. the process has to begin. our administration fully supports this effort, led by a seasoned negotiator unproven peacemaker, and whom the
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president, hillary clinton, and i have complete and utter confidence. we believe through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that end the conflict and reconciles of palestinian goal of an independent and viable state and israel possible of a jewish state with secured and recognized borders to reflect subsequent development and meet israel's securities requirements. many challenges remain. he is still in captivity, and we pray every day for the day when he will come home and be reunited with his family ladies and gentlemen, incitement against israel continues, us to attacks on the legitimacy of
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jewish targets to this ancient land -- jewish ties to this ancient land. with hezbollah in southern lebanon on, it reminds us your security is far from ensured. meanwhile, are concerned about israel's's settlement remains unchanged, and well hamas has condemned gaza to hopelessness, israel, to has a zero -- israel, too, has a responsibility to address those needs. that is why we will address those needs without further endangering israel's security. i am a roman traffic, and i am no expert on the old test -- are roman catholic, and i am no expert on the old testament, but i know we are gathered here
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between holidays that reaches about salvation and redemption. it was written and the book of isaiah that israel shall be a light unto the nation, and yet for more than six decades, israel is have often sought but never found the salvation of lasting peace, and it is very hard to be a beacon for others when you are constantly at war. to end this historic conflict, both sides must be historic labeled, because if each waits stubbornly for the other two are first, this logon for an eternity. back home, i am sometimes called an optimist, but i am an optimist about the prospects for peace, because i am a realist. to paraphrase, there's nowhere
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else to go. i cannot tell you peace will come easily. you know better. in human history, it rarely has, but i can promise you both israeli and palestinian, but the rewards for successful been boundless, and so long as well- intentioned people work in the struggle, the united states will be your partner. thank you, and may god protect you and may god protect israel. thank you very much. [applause]
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thank you very much. i have the bad habit of staying until all lives are out, because i tend to learn more from you then you're likely to learn from me, but i have a meeting with your minister of defense that i am already late for, but i am sure he will understand if i take a couple questions, and i will try to be as concise and straightforward as i can, and i am going to let six of you with your hands raised. we will see about cooperation in the back road. -- in the back row. the young man standing now, can we get a microphone to you? i cannot see in the dog and a period are the microphones in
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the south and a fellow what i am going to do -- is in the stuff with microphones in the south in a coma since i cannot see, -- is any staff with microphones in the balcony? i cannot see. if you have a microphone, fire away. >> i am danny. the majority of israelis are willing to except the creation of an intended palestinian state, nevertheless, they are constantly hijacked on both sides. what does your administration and the israeli government and the authorities need from us in order to get back to negotiating and reaching an agreement? thank you. >> thank you. first, as i have said to
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everyone i have met, the united states cannot want peace more than you do your readers would me say that again reaching more than you can. -- the united states cannot want peace more than the israelis want it. it is of a monthly up to you all. we cannot dictate anything. we can facilitate. weakened bridge differences. we can hopefully -- i believe our nation has the trust of the prime minister and your defense establishment, and i am confident we have been able to gain the trust of mr. fayad, so hopefully we can facilitate. what we came up with -- both
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sides have been saying they want to get back into negotiations, but it is a very hard thing to do, but we came up with deconstruct. the first construct is to have what became known as proximity tax. talk to us. talk to us and tell us how you want to begin this process, because ironically, there is more in common about what the elements would be then there ever has been. if you told me 30 years ago everyone would be saying the starting point is a two-state solution, i would have told you, that is wonderful, but i have not heard anyone say that. the proximity talks are designed to raise issues of consequence but with the knowledge othat ultimately, leaders are going to have to talk face to face.
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we're going deficit down in a room and resolve the difference -- we are going to have to sit down in a room and resolve the difference. i and not speaking for an israeli leader or a palestinian. i sometimes get introduced back home as a foreign policy expert. an expert is anyone from out of town with a briefcase. all foreign policy is -- and all universities are going to be mad and degraded the title, but all foreign policy is is an extension of personal relationships with a lot less a specific information to go on, so you get it. you probably get it better than the adults do. what happens here? it is very difficult when both societies are strained to the breaking point and lacks a
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little trust in one another and sometimes their own leaders. -- glaxo little trust in one another and sometimes their leaders -- lack s with so littlt in one another. what will happen is, it will cost politically, whether it is an israeli or palestinian -- it will probably cost them dearly, and they will never get to the point they need to be at. the trick is, how do you building of confidence for the leaders in both countries are prepared to actually sit down -- not in the glare of cameras, not because they want to hide anything, but so they have a chance to come forward with a whole -- of fulsome product, because anything other than
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that puts them in a position where they can be ripped to shreds by the opposition in both countries. it is a difficult spot. there is nothing easy about it, but there is nothing really complicated about it. it is human nature. it is the way things work out. it is a little like saying you're going to settle a serious disagreement you have with your husband or wife and say, let's start talking about the car first. that is not the problem. the problem is, and were you loyal to you or not loyal to me. you had better get its done at once. i realize i am being very simplistic, but in a sense, it is as simple as it is complicated. you have got to get to the point
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where the leaders are actually able to sit -- hopefully, what we can do it in these proximity talks, we can be of bridging mechanism. one leader said to me, are you have to tell me as the other guy really has a plan. look me in the eye and tell me you really believe they have vauquelin, and i am -- you really believe they have a plan, and i am willing to sit down. this is a process of building that ultimately is going to have to be the parties sitting down in our room, looking at one another, and there will be stages before they get to that, but the total deal. it is not going to come out piecemeal.
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it would be very difficult for it to survive in this political atmosphere, and i am not blaming the press for anything. it is very difficult, unless you have all the pieces and you have agreed on all the major pieces, and i think that is eventually what will happen. i cannot see in the balcony, but i am sure you gave the microphone to someone. i apologize. the lights are in-. fire away if up in the balcony. >> i want to ask you, what do things will eventually prevent the iranian government from having a nuclear weapons. >> my dad used to have an expression he with a reality has
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a way of intruding on the fence. -- interesting on a events. i think the most likely thing to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon will be a unified condemnation by the rest of the world, and imposition of real sanctions that make it clear to them that the price to pay for continued pursuit of that objective is much more costly and assisting in that pursuit. that is why we are working with international community and might have an agreement with your country as well, that the best step to succeed is through sanctions, to move on imposing genuine sanctions. ladies and gentleman, this is a very fluid situation. it is fluid in iran.
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it is fluid in the region it is fluid in the world. if you have been told two years ago the tens of thousands of iranians would be marching in the street, challenging the supreme leader, and significantly reaching an unbridgeable, which is death empire -- a emperor has no clothes, i doubt many of you would have said that is likely to occur. this is a dynamic situation. i am not predicting anything in particular about what will happen in iran, but i am suggesting no one knows what is going on fully in iran. we may get 10 feet tall and completely united and without divisions. there are significant
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divisions, so the most effective thing we can do is impose sanctions on the sources within that government that are in charge of pursuing and benefiting from the pursuit of attempting to acquire a nuclear weapon. that is what we should be doing now, and i am not going to speculate on what should be done in addition to that, were that to fail. we believe that is the single best approach, and we believe it will bear fruit. last question. let me get someone in the front. the young man just underneath the cameras. yes famines -- yes, sir? i am sorry. a few of you know me. you know i would much prefer to
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stay here and answer the rest of your questions to give me an insight into what you're thinking. >> i am a student in international studies. i would like to know what steps you are going to take to encourage other middle eastern countries to engage in dialogue? >> what would i do to encourage other countries in the middle east to enter into a dialogue with israel and particularly 11 non? first, -- particularly lebanon? first, there are a series of opportunities that exist now in the mutual interest of your neighboring countries as well as israel but did not exist before -- some for good reasons and some for not such reasons.
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there is much more cooperation end mutual concern with other arab nations in israel because of the unintended consequences iran has had. you have had other middle eastern countries as worried about acquisition of nuclear weapons and most urgently, the active support of terrorist groups by the iranian government than ever existed before, and that has a consequence of increasing connections, dialogue, discussions between countries. i am not going to characterize the degree, but it opens an avenue that never existed before. secondly, the very men and women with whom i met earlier, who are
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the economic engine, the imagination, the technological future not only for this country but the region and the world -- it is not lost on the arab world that their progress, their ability to thrive and prosper, depends on access to end cooperation with the very people at this university and the men and women sitting on the front row throughout this audience, so again, i do not want to exaggerate, but there is much more intercourse between people, because one of the things that is becoming apparent, they have got to make plans to transition. they are not stupid. it is not like they do not understand what is happening
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within their own population, and that is, there is a need to provide employment, economic opportunity and out lives. their very existence is in jeopardy -- opportunity and outlooks. their very existence is in jeopardy. there is a growing awareness that what you have produced is something that would benefit my people, so the scientific intercourse, the social intercourse, increasingly is beginning to happen, and my advice, and i will not name the countries, but i get an opportunity to meet with them
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has folks come to washington and as i travel frequently -- my advice is you had better get ready for the future. you have no choice, and the best way to do that is to begin to expand relationships with israel. it is in your naked self- interest as well as in israel's in trust -- israel's interest, so this is going to be slow in coming, but the events are altering attitudes, and not all negatively. some of them positively. let me give you an analogy so i do not get into characterizing any one middle eastern country, because the whole idea is to -- this is a process for them as well, how far in front they can get.
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take iraq. iraq is a country that has been dominated by a dictator for decades. .
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it is all too well the country. it is expected that we come in as much will as saudia arabia in 10-years. i realize it is and i say marron, but it is becoming the glue that holds the country together. -- it is an oxymoron, but it is becoming the glue that holds the country together. it cannot be perfect. if you look round at their neighbors and opportunity, for the first time, what did not
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seem possible 10 or 15 years ago is within the realm of possibility. i do not want to be pollyanna ish or 90 about this. i am not being idealistic about it. if this is the reality all the countries -- this is just the reality. all the countries that have been your nemesis are dealing with emerging problems in the 21st century that are going to lead them to take actions other than war in order to be built to accommodate their future. -- and even their survival. israel is uniquely positioned now. by the grace of god and good will of the neighbors, there is
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a possibility over the next year it that your children will be in a very different, significantly more secure and prosperous area of the world. the alternative is unthinkable. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> coming up later this hour, we will get an update on the financial regulations bill. after that, the head of the highway safety administration testified on capitol hill about the handling of toyota's recall. leaders reached an agreement on health care.
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we will hear from nancy pelosi, followed by senate republicans we talk to the reporter covering health care. >> the house democrats are stuck with the senate bill. they do not like a lot of things in the senate bill. there are bad about bills getting kopp there. they cannot get better -- past because the rules are complicated. they need 60 votes for a lot of
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the bills that go through. reconciliate allowed some -- reconciliation laws and to get some of the votes. they do not trust the senate. >> one the other developments came from the senate developments who could block anything that comes forward. can you explain what you wrote about the senate republicans have said they will call reported order against any provision that does not comply with the third row. >> explain that. what it means it has to relate to the federal budget. it will have they in effect on
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the deficitt will be looking very carefully at this bill. it they will try to find any of the poll that they can to pull something out and get the parliamentarian to rule that it has opened a budget point of order. if it goes a few days pass, we are ok with that. we have been waiting so long. roberts said it goes a few days past, we are ok with that. we have been waiting so long. have said that it was something that was extremely due to max baucus.
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and they do not seem to be able to pull that out at this point, said today that the house would have a week to look at any reconciliation bill that they come up with. cbo comes with this score, would be a marked up that will be chaired by the house budget committee, and john spratt and then would go to the rules committee chaired by the chairman of new york. >> the budget committee is changes to this bill. we are being told that they could meet on monday.
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they are trying to schedule aat least to expect language bythey descended on it so that a huge debate over this. it takes 48 hours after it wednesday. get this on the senate floor. i was told that -- the house floor -- i was told that they members, on gentle ways on how to get the bill on the house floor. >> nancy pelosi talks terry porter's. the process for passing the bill could include budget reconciliation this is about 10 minutes.
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we had a productive meeting with the white house. they walked through the president's proposal. members had an opportunity to ask questions about it and express their priorities. another step taking us closer to voting on it. in the context of our final word, we were briefed by the
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rules committee as to the action they needed to take to put it the reconciliation bill on the table. it is important that the reconciliation bill will not be about health care reform. it will only be about the changes that will be made to the senate bill. those reflect the president's proposal, which honors the -- 75% of the bills are similar. the president says 90, so let's split the difference. votes in the senate.
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the house bill was passed by 220 votes. changes. they will relate to affordability for the middle companies. and equity for the states, changing the equity agreement. this is really important for have unnecessary burdens on the stage.
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this legislation comes closer towe have talked about the cadillac plans. nancy discussed with the members what the change would be. removed from the bill. income. it was very productive in terms of hearing from the white house with the present proposal was. and having the it ministration hear the concerns of members once again -- the devastation
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here concerns the member once again in case there is any room. narrow discipline. unless a provision is central to the budget, it cannot be considered pit them -- consider. we have to abide by the congressional budget office and all of this. we will come back this afternoonwhen i go to the table and expressed concerns, my limitations prevent me from the enthusiasm for certain ideas interested they were in certain
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others would like to see if it to be something there would want to see acted upon. i think it is very predictor. action was lively and positive. >> what is your message to the democrats that right now are undecided? >> our clock starts ticking will get the final cbo score. we do not have the final yet. we have a pretty good idea.
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the decisions are made. the choice have been made. we all believe in the status quo. we believe that america's families need the federal budget. we understand that from a cost template we cannot afford theas a matter of value for our country, this is not just of the provisions of the bill. is above the character of our country. -- it is about the character of our country.
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they want to move forward withwhen you ask what is the message, we share the vision. some members first voted yes. if they had some hesitation about cost. they are looking for some more cost measures. the senate bill is stronger in terms of cost. it is a general message. it is a vision that we share. that gives us an opportunity. >> you said you had most of the
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information. can you run down for us how this changes top line numbers? the cost, the savings? >> we have a top line but we have goals we want to achieve. this is my hope. we want to move with the american people. and nothing the american people can wait much longer. >> was any pressure about the mark announcement? was there any pressure to take a stand on earmarks given the
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recent ethics investigations? >> this earmarked has been an ongoing one. we are talking to a couple members about what we had done. we have had significant reductions. we had unprecedented transparency on the internet. they are being publicly disclosed, not just our disclosing of it. there are a marks in designated -- are earmarks a designated. they must compete. that is what we did last year. we decided to go further. wheat pit and a one-year memorialist in 2007.
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year. members are making their request for air marks. it is important to let them know that they probably should not make a request for an earmark for a business. that is not mean we do not dumping give -- they have done. probably 99% of the earmarks are in the defense bill. many come from the department of defense. they cannot compete with the defense contractors. instead, we will have an innovation.
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compete for a contract, if that is what it is. the fact that it has to be they do not have to competei spend a lot of time on national security issues. they divided into needs. we say, who can do this best? they may say you have not thought of this. here are some new ideas. go and what we have now. some people -- we have a range>> thank you, folks.
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>> now some republicans on health care. this is 30 minutes. senators be permitted to engage in a croix. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i thank the chair. madam president, the senator from arizona and i and senator barrasso who will be here in a few minutes had the privilege of being invited by the president to a lengthy health care summit not a couple of weeks ago. it was at the blair house, an historic location right across from the white house. over the seven 1/2-hour discussion, there were some discuss differences of opinion. in fact, my friend, the majority leader, said lamar, you're not entitled to your facts, and i think he's right about that. we want to use real facts. but the american people once again seem to have understood the real facts.
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in the "wall street journal" yesterday, march 10, there was an article by scott rasmussen and doug schoen. mr. rasmussen is an independent pollster. mr. schoen was president clinton's pollster. we were saying mr. president, your plan will increase the deficit. this is a time when many people in america believe the deficit is growing at an alarming rate and will bring the country to its knees in a few years if we don't do something about it. the president and his democratic colleagues says no, no, no, the congressional budget office says that we don't increase the deficit. the american people don't believe that, according to mr. rasmussen and mr. schoen. they say, "60% of voters believe passage of the president's plan will lead to higher deficits." and they're right about that. and why do i say that? because -- because not included in the comprehensive health care
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plan that the president has yet to send up -- we don't have a bill yet. we have an 11-page memo which are suggested recommendations in a 2,700-page senate bill, so we don't have a bill, but the plan does not include what it costs to pay doctors for serving medicare patients over the next ten years. and according to the president's own budget -- and paul ryan brought this up, the congressman from wisconsin, at the summit. that costs $371 billion over ten years. now, let me say that once more. what we're being asked to believe is that here is a comprehensive health care plan that doesn't add to the debt, but it doesn't include what it costs to pay doctors to serve medicare patients. that's like asking you to come to a horse race without a horse.
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i mean, does anybody believe that a comprehensive health care plan is complete and comprehensive, is it doesn't include what you pay doctors to see medicare patients? of course not. so you have to include that in there. that adds $371 billion to the president's proposal, and that by itself makes it clear that the proposal adds to the deficit. now, the senator from arizona is here, and i would say to the senator this. also in the article in "the wall street journal," it said 59% of the voters say the biggest problem with the health care system is the cost. that's what we have been saying over and over again. let's don't expand a program that costs too much. let's fix the program by reducing costs. according to the survey -- remember, this is an independent pollster and a democratic pollster. 59% say the biggest problem with the health care system is the
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cost. they want reform that will bring down the cost of care. for these voters, the notion that you need to spend an additional trillion dollars doesn't make sense. if the program is supposed to save money, why does it cost anything at all asked the pollsters. i would ask the senator from arizona that question, if this program is supposed to save money, reduce costs, why does it cost anything at all? mr. mccain: i would say to my friend, obviously, the answer to that question is we continue to go back and back to the congressional budget office with different assumptions in order to get the answers that they want when the american people have figured it out, and again, i know that my friend from tennessee saw yesterday's news which has to be considered in the context of the cost of this bill which congressman ryan
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estimates as around around $2.5 trillion over -- in true budgeting over ten years, but we can't ignore the fundamental fact that the government ran up -- this is an a.p. article yesterday. the government ran up the largest monthly deficit in history in february, keeping the flood of red ink on track to top last year's record for the full year. the treasury department said on wednesday the february deficit totaled $220.9 billion, 14% higher than the previous order set in february of last year. the deficit through the first five months of this budget year totaled $651 billion, 10% higher than a year ago, and the obama administration, the administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion,
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surpassing last year's record of of $1.4 trillion. i say to my friend from tennessee, these are numbers that in my young years, we would not believe -- we would not believe that we could be running up these kinds of deficits. and yet we hear from the president and from the administration that things are getding better. well, certainly not from the debt that we are running on to future generations of americans. i think an example -- and i wonder if my friend from tennessee would agree with me, that there's so much anger out there over the pork-barrel spend and earmark spending that the speaker of the house says they're going to ban earmarks in the other body for for-profit companies. why not ban them all? immediately, they would set up these shadow outfits and chairman obey says that that
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would be 1,000 earmarks n one bill last year there were 9,000 earmarks. why don't we take the final step and put a moratorium on earmarks until there's no more deficit? i think that's what the american people want, to get rid of this corruption that continues there. could i also mention to my friend from tennessee very briefly, you know, the president, when he and i sat next to each other at blair house and i talked about the special deals for the special interests and the unsavory deal that was cut with pharma and how the american people as angry at the process as the product. the president's response to me and the certain accuracy associated with it he said, "the campaign is over." well, i would remind my friend that before the campaign, before the campaign, when the president was still a senator, he said this about reconciliation.
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he said, "know "you know, the fg fathers designed this system, as frustrating as it is, to make sure there is a broad consensus that the system is as fair as -- that's prompt ago change in the rules that would change the character of the senate forever. what i worry about would be you slings have still two chairnlings the house and the senate, but you have simply majoritarian, absolute power on either side and that's just not what the founders intended." that was a statement by then-senator barack obama. and heent with on to say, "i would try to get a unified effort saying this is a national emergency. do something. we need the republicans. we need the dessments andious yesterday, it's time to vote. it's time to is his message which certainly is attractive.
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we will be a be glad to vote but we want to preserve the institution of the senate, the 600-vote rule. -- the 60-vote rule. republicans when they are in the majority, we tried to change it as the senator from tennessee remembers. but the fact is that if we take away the 60-vote majority that is characterized -- that has characterized the way that this body has proceed, woo we will then be as the then-senator obama said, "you just have to -- what i would worry about is you have essentially two chairnlings the house and the senate, but you have simply majoritarian, absolute power on either side and that's just not what the founders intended." i wonder if that's what the president still believes, that that's not what the founders intended. mr. alexander: i appreciate my colleague bringing this up. i think it is important that the
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people remember that the senator from arizona has a certain amount of credibility 0 on this. it was the republicans about four years ago when we were in the majority and we became frustrated because democrats were blocking president bush's judicial appointments. so some of us, some republicans -- i didn't, but some republicans said, well, let's just jam it through. we won the election. let's get it with 51 votes. let's change the rules. but senator mccain and a group of others said, wait just a minute. the united states -- he said then what he said just today. he said, the united states founders set up the united states senate to be a protecter of minority rights, and as senator byrd, the senior democratic senator has said, sometimes the minority is right. and as alexis de tocque vicialtion who wrote his observations about our country in the 1830's, that the
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potentially greatest threat to the american democracy is tyranny. this is a place where decisionss are based on consensus. running the health care bill through the senate like a freight train is an outrage. and it would be an outrage. i would is a to the senator from arizona, don't you believe that it's not just the higher premiums and the higher taxes and the extra cost to states. that in the end, the reason this health care bill is so deeply unpopular is because of the process, because first, you know, 25 days of secret meetings. now jamming it through by a partisan vote. something this birks this important ought to be decided by consensus in the united states senate. mr. mccain: i would remind my friend from tennessee, and i -- madam president, i would like -- ask unanimous consent that senator byrd's statement on
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senator d. -- senator robert byrd in april of 2001, be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: he explained his objection to using reconciliation to pass controversial health care legislation. i quote from senator robert byrd. "the democratic leadership pleaded with me at length to support the idea that the clinton health care bill should be included in that year's reconciliation package. president clinton got on the phone and called me also and pressed me to allow his massive health care bill to be insulated by reconciliation's protection. i felt that changes as dramatic ago the clinton health care package which would affect ever man, woman cialtion and child would be scrutiny. i said," quoting robert byrd, "i said, mr. president, i cannot in good conscience turn my face the other way. that's why we have a senate, to amend and debate freely. and that health bill, as important as it is, is so complex, so far reaching that the people of this country need to know what's in it."
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i mind you, the speaker of the house just said yesterday, if they pass the bill, then people would know what's in it. and moreover, mr. president, we senators need to know what's in it before we voavment and he accepted that. he accepted that. thanked me and said goodbye. i could not, i would not, and i did not allow that package to be handled in such a cavalier manner. it was the threat of the united states of the byrd rule. and he finally summarize and said, "reconciliation was never, never, never intended to be a sheeferld to be -- to be used as a shaled fo shield for controvel legislation." the senator from tennessee mentioned the process. i don't think the american people understand that if the house passes the bill, the senate bill, every one of these sweet sh heart deals that were included behind door negotiations and the majority leader's office and in the white house will remain in that bill. and we republicans have all signed a letter, 41 votes, that we will not accept any change
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because -- or amendment whether it's good or bad because we oppose the use of reconciliation, as robert byrd did so eloquently back in 2001. mr. alexander: i wonder if the senator from arizona would agree with me that what is happening sheer that the president is inviting the house democrats to join hands and jump off a cliff and hope senator reid catches them -- >> mr. mccain: the c-span cameras in those meetings? mr. alexander: well, when they jump, it might be. but senator reid, i would ask the senator from arizona and his democratic colleagues, they're not going to have any incentive to catch these house members who vote for the bill, because the president will have already signed it into law enforcement hhe'll be well on his way to i understand niece aia. we have 41 republican senators who have signed a letter saying that you're not going to make new deals and send them over
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here and change them by reconciliation. mr. mccain: i would also take -- bring attention -- and, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that an article entitled "health care reforms sickeningly sweet deals" by kathleen parker which appeared in "the washington post" on wednesday, march 10, be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i think she says is best. and i quote her article. "skipping through the candyland of the health care bill, one is tempted to hum a few bars much "let me call you sweetheart." what a deal for deal makers, that is, not so much for american taxpayers who have been misled into thinking that the sweetheart deals have been excised." that's why i say to my friend from ten tep, it is important, the american people understand at that the senate bill cannot be changed without coming back to the senate. corks therefore, with all these deals that they have pledged to remove, we'll be in the bill that will be voted on by the other body.
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the cornhusker kickback, which by the way secured 100% funding for nebraska's medicaid expansion in perpetuity, among other hidden prizes, to benefit locally based snurchtion companies. when other states complained about the unfair treatment, president obama and congress fixed it by increasing the federal share to all states through 2017, after which all amounts are supposed to decrease. but they didn't fix t anyway, so i think it's important for us to understand that these sweetheart deals have not been removed that we, in our opposition to the entire reconciliation which would lead to the erosion and eventual destruction of the 60-vote procedure, which has characterized the senate has operated -- and i have been in the majority and i have been in the minority. when i've opinion in the
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majority, we've been frustrated by the 60-vote rule, and vice versa. and some of the people who are doing the greatest complaining about the -- and are doing the greatest complaining about the fact that we have 60 had vote rule here are the same ones who were the most steadfast defenders in past years when they were in the minority. that alone is enough argument for us to leave the process alone. and i believe that historians will show that there are times where the 60-vote rule averted because of the exigencies of the moment -- averted us taking actions which later on in perhaps calmer times we were glad that we did not enact at that time. mr. alexander: madam president, i congratulate the senator from arizona for his consistency. for five years ago saying to members of his own party that the senate is a place where
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minority rights are protected and, as senator byrd has said, sometimes the minority is right. it slows things down, yes, but it forces us to get it rievment i ask unanimous consent to include following my remarks the editorial from "the wall street journal" to which i referred a little earlier. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: and i ask consent -- i see the senator wyoming on the floor. i ask unanimous consent that he be allowed to lead the colloquy in our remaining time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: could i ask the senator from wyoming, is he aware of a letter from i believe 85,000 physicians that oppose this legislation that recently came in? mr. barrasso: well, madam president, i am not aware of that article. i look forward to hearing about it from my colleague. mr. mccain: may i just mention to my friend, dr. barrasso, the undersigned state of national specialty societies representing more than 85,000 physicians and
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the millions of patients they serve are writing to oppose passage of the patient protection and are afordable care act. the changes that were recently proposed by president obama do not address our many concerns with this legislation and they, therefore, urge you to draft a more patient-centered bill that will reform the country's flawed system for financing health care while preserving the best health care in the world. i just want to ask my friend, dr. barrasso, isn't it true that if -- that included in this legislation remains the so-called doc fix, that there will be a 21% curt in doctors' payments for medicaid, the treatment of medicare enroll year, and there is no one in america that believes that that cut will actually be enacted, which then makes this entire -- the entire comments by supporters of this bill false on its face, just that alone? i believe that's $371 billion;
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is that correct? mr. barrasso: my colleague is absolutely correct. that is exactly what is happening. they call this a health care bill. it doesn't really seem to address the major issues that patients across the country are concerned about and my colleague is absolutely right. we need a patient-centered approach. it doesn't address the issue that doctors are concerned about. which is the issue of knacking sure that a doctor and a patient can work together toward the best health for that patient. doctors and patients alike are very much opposed to this bill, and when senator mccain talks about this dr. fix, doctors across the country, to make this bill works, it says they're going to get a 21% cut in what they get paid for take care of patients who depend upon medicare for their health care, and then keep that price frozen tor the next ten years. that's the only way they can come up in any way, the
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democrats can say well, this actually saves money, when in reality in terms of health care in the country, it does not. this bill if it passes is going to end up costing patients more, it's going to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, it's going to result in an america where people truly believe that their health care, if this passes, their health care, their personal care -- and that's what people worry about. they say what's in it for me? how is this going to affect me and my life and my children? for adults, how is it going to affect our parents? they believe that the care that they receive, in terms of the quality of care, the available care that they receive, is going to be worse, and they believe it's going to end up costing more. and that's why in a recent poll just this week, 57% of americans say that this plan, if it passes, will hurt the economy. we're at a time where we're at 9.7% unemployment in this
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country. people are looking for work, and the place that people find jobs in this economy right now tends to be working for the government. but the engine that drives our nation and the economy of this nation, the engine has been for decades and decades small businesses. that's who we rely upon to stimulate the economy and get job growth. that's who we should be relying on. not washington, not the federal government. and that's why 57% of americans who are focused on the economy say we believe that this economy will be hurt if this bill passes. people are focused on the debt and the cost, and 81% of americans say it's going to cost more than estimated, because as senator mccain has said, the numbers that we look at, the fact that the -- that doctors are going to be cut 21% across the board and continue for the
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next ten years with their medicare fees, people of america realize that that's not going to work for health care, that people are going to say hey, how am i going to get to see a doctor, i'm on medicare, i want to see a doctor. that's why people believe that health care, their own personal care is going to get worse if this bill passe 78% said there will be middle class tax hike. but the smart people of postnatal that cuts a and -- that is why people are of post to medicare cuts. it is to hospitals, nursing homes, where we have so many seniors across the country but . it keeps them out of the
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hospital. they are going to cut medicare patients who are in hospice care, who are at the terminal point in the final days of their lives. they are cutting back out. all of these things are reason the american people say "i am not for this bill. have americans as to stop and start over. actually going to help. that's not a way to pass legislation in this country. that's not a way to find something that the american people agree with. that's not the way to get successful implementation of a program. to get something -- and i spent five years in the wyoming state senate. on major pieces of legislation, we always sought broad bipartisan support, because if you have broad bipartisan support, then people all around the community and the country would say this must be the right
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solution to a significant problem that we're facing. and we are facing a problem with health care in this country, and we need health care reform. we just don't need this bill that cuts medicare, raises taxes, and for the most part, most americans will tell you, they believe their own personal care will suffer as a result of this bill becoming law. for whatever means or mechanism or parliament tricks are used to try to cram this bill through and cram it down the throats of the american people, the american people want to say no thank you, and they're saying it in a less polite way than just saying no thank you. they are calling, showing up, turning out to tell their elected representatives that we do not want this bill, under any circumstances. let's get to the things that we can agree upon and isolate those and pass those immediately.
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not an over 2,000-page bill that is loaded with new government rules and new government regulations and new government agencies and new government employees at a time when 10% of americans are unemployed and people are looking for work in communities around the country. one of the things that i found so interesting and also distressing, when the president says everyone will have coverage, he wants to do it by putting 15 million americans on medicaid. having practiced medicine for 25 years and seeing all patients, regardless of ability to pay, i can tell you that there are many doctors across the country who don't see medicaid patients because what they receive in payment from the -- from the government for seeing those patients is so little. and even the people at the congressional budget office who look at this health care bill, with the cuts in medicare and with so many people put on medicaid, they say one in five hospitals is going to be unable
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to stay open ten years from now if this gets passed because they are not going to be able to even cover the expenses of staying open. the same applies to doctors' offices and to nursing homes. we need a program and an approach that is sustainable, not something like this that we know is irresponsible and unsustainable. and that's what you're going to do if you put 15 million more people on medicaid by sending them a medicaid card, but as senator alexander has said, that's like giving somebody a bus ticket when a bus isn't coming, because coverage does not always equal care. and as a surgeon in wyoming, i took care of people who came from canada, came to wyoming from canada for health care. well, they had coverage in
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canada because canada covers all of the people, but they don't get care in canada, and that's why 33,000 canadians, 33,000 last year came to the united states for surgery. why? because the waiting lines were so long in canada. even a member of parliament who had cancer -- and my wife is a breast cancer survivor -- a member of parliament from canada with cancer came to the united states for her cancer care because the survival rates for people treated in the united states is so much better. why is it better? well, it's more timely care. people come for artificial hip replacements because they don't want to wait in canada. in canada, come halloween, trick or treat medicine, they have spent the amount of money they are going to spend on a procedure, whether it's cataract surgery, total joint replacement, we're done for the year, wait until next year. go get in line again. and i hear it time and time
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again in patients who come from canada to the united states because they have coverage but they don't have care. and then we look at medicaid and medicare, and we look at the model that the president has lifted up as the one that says hey, this is a good model for health care in america, and he pointed to the mayo clinic, which is an incredible place, wonderful care, and yet the mayo clinic in arizona said we can't take more medicare patients, and they said we can't -- we have to limit the number of medicaid patients that we take. why? because by taking care of those patients in the past, the mayo clinic says they have lost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars because washington is the biggest debt -- deadbeat payer for health care. when it comes to medicare actually rejecting patients' claims, the number one rejection of claims, the number one
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rejecter of claims in this country is medicare. the highest percentage of claims reject south dakota medicare. over other insurance companies. and having practiced medicine for 25 years, i have fought with medicare and i have fought with insurance companies all on behalf of patients. and when you're fighting with an insurance company, you can always actually appeal, appeal that if they reject it. very hard to fight with washington. this health care bill that we have now been debating in the senate and is now before the house is one that the american people say don't make me live under this. don't cut my medicare. don't raise my taxes, and don't interfere with my relationship with my doctor and don't make it tougher for me to get care and don't lessen the quality of that
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>> senator corker expressed disappointment with the decision, citing an insult issues with the legislation he talked to repel locals -- to reporters for about 35 minutes. are you ready? thank you for coming out. i appreciate it. yesterday was one of the more bizarre days by experience. i began today villanellas on the 5 yard line.
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i knew that tensions would exist. i did not realize that it? the counter the biggest of my life to a year in 10 months. the person you are dealing with is under stress. you need to call and sort of buck things up. yesterday morning, i knew that chairman dodd was feeling a lot of pressure. i told him there on the 5 yard line. we can get this done. let us keep our heads down. do not let anyone interfere. let's move ahead. he said, you are right. the route the day, we miss each other. finally at 3:00, we met privately.
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he made me aware of where we were in the negotiation. obviously, that is very disappointing. i understand the pressures that he is under. but me say this. i have immensely enjoyed working with chairman doug and his team. -- chairman dodd and his team. i think his staff has contributed equally. there is up in one issue we enough been able to overcome, not a single one.
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on the issue that all of you have focused on the most, consumers, we were there. what is going to be happening, i have enjoyed this immensely. over the last 30 days, is what we came here in the senate to do. we laughed, we have debated, and we have got into the 5 yard line. even though yesterday i was made aware of the we need to go ahead, i still plan to work with him. our staff -- they were in shock. i want to thank our step. you think about a 12 and a page bill. we do not have a committee staff to work on it.
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they have been incredible. they know this bill. -- better than any staff in the senate. if they continue to play a role. i am disappointed. i still think it is important that we get a financial regulation bill. this really is a jobs bill. the fact is that financial markets need predictability. they need to know what the rules of the road are. it is not take a few phone calls for them to tell you that we live like to have a good bill. we live like to know where it is going. we want to know the rules of the road. many of them are hoarding cash. the images mention one other
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thing. -- let me just mention one other thing in fairness. there is no question that white house politics and healthcare have kept us from getting to the goal line. in a question. -- no question. i had truly enjoyed working with chairman dot. mark warren has been the best partner. judd gregg and jack reed were working on derivatives. in fairness, it may take them a little while to finish it. it is very complex. we do not have jurisdiction over certain revenues. they still have work to do. what we have to do in the senate
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is get things right. it is important for us before we pass legislation to get it right. this is an important topic. through this weekend, probably could have gotten it right. i think we would have been ready to introduce and improve a bipartisan bill. i've always felt would then amended these bills. i film along constrained. i will answer any question you wish. they are getting nervous about what they were reading. they would try to ensure they could get as much as they can.
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hopefully, what he will do is move to the light. for me, i think a better course of action is to introduce something in the middle of the road and have people of both sides tried to influence it. to put the positive on this, the fact is now, all my colleagues -- i want to say something this began as a very awkward situation in the first week or so.


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